Passages: Hong Kong National Record Holder Kenneth To Dies at 26

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Photo Courtesy: Andy Ross

Sixteen-time Hong Kong National Record Holder and four-time World Championship medalist Kenneth To died at a training session on March 18.

According to the Gator Swim Club, To was training in Gainesville when he went to the locker room after not feeling well.  To was training with the Gator Swim Club in preparation for the 2019 World Championships and 2020 Olympics.

The cause of his death is still uncertain.

“We are all very shocked and saddened by Kenny’s passing and wish his family and friends strength at this incredibly difficult time,” Swimming Australia National Head Coach Jacco Verhaeren said. “He was a much-loved team member with a determined spirit and wonderful personality, so he will be missed by all his peers, coaches and staff.

Personally, I was fortunate to work closely with Kenny in the lead up to the 2014 Commonwealth Games. In that year he suffered a bad back injury after qualification and although he could have pulled out, he refused to give up on the team and did everything he could – it showed the resilience that was instilled in him and was a testament to his character.”

Many former teammates, competitors and coaches have put out similar statements via social media:

 

View this post on Instagram

 

Definitely a shock. He was such a light and pure guy. He will always be my example for any swimmer that puts boundaries on themselves from their height, work ethic, whatever. I would show swimmers who are struggling, insecure, self conscious, his videos, and they would be amazed by his underwaters, beating men maybe a foot or more taller than him. The mental strength of this man and the fortitude he must have had after moving countries, surgery and more, all while working his way back into the sport is a strength not many athletes have in their entire career, expecially since he did it with a smile. Kenneth To, You will not be forgotten, and your example will always be that of strength, resilience and a smile in the face of adversity in competition and in life. I hope your family will be honoured by the prayers, love, support and feeling of pride as they hear from the swimmers and people Kenneth has impacted in such a short time.

A post shared by Alia Atkinson, CD (@alia_atkinson) on

View this post on Instagram

I have no words. RIP @kennethkhto

A post shared by Tom Shields (@beefytshields) on

The 26-year-old was born in Hong Kong before moving to Australia where he was on the Dolphins’ National Team from 2010-2016. In 2017, he then represented Hong Kong at the World University Games. He also won six medals, including gold in the 400 Medley Relay at the 2010 Youth Olympic Games in Singapore.

To’s National Records include the Long Course 50 free, 100 free, 50 breast, 100 breast, 200 IM and 400 medley relay and Short Course 50 free, 100 free, 200 free, 50 breast, 100 breast, 50 fly, 100 fly, 100 IM, 200 IM and 400 IM. From his time in Australia, he also holds National Records for the country in the Short Course 100 and 200 IM.

Most recently, To competed in the 100 free, 200 free and 200 IM at the 2019 TYR Pro Swim Series at Des Moines.


The Hong Kong Sports Institute and Swimming Australia contributed to this report.

45 Comments
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3 years ago

How very sad

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3 years ago

OoooMG???

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3 years ago

Really sad God Bless him

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3 years ago

Very sad. RIP Kenneth x

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3 years ago

Joe Stott

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3 years ago

?incredibly sad.

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3 years ago

Omg Elizabeth Taylor how terrible

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3 years ago
Reply to  Sara Stacy

Sara Stacy did it say why

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3 years ago
Reply to  Sara Stacy

Elizabeth Taylor they dont know yet

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3 years ago

Oh wow! So so sad.

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3 years ago

So very sad.

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3 years ago

So very sad ?

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3 years ago

David Olvera

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So sad! And so young!

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3 years ago

Prayers and condolences to his family!

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So tragic and sad for his family and friends. Rest In Peace Kenneth.??

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3 years ago

Prayers to his family and loved ones.

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3 years ago

So sad. ? Gone too soon. RIP young man.

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3 years ago

So young
What awful news
?

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3 years ago

Sad…RIP

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3 years ago

RIP

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3 years ago

So sad. RIP

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3 years ago

OMG, I never heard of a swimmer dying because of practice, but I swam competitively 56 to 60 years ago. We only were allowed to work out about 4 months a year back then. I would think the swimmers are in much better shape now. Did he have and unknown cardiac problem? Anyway, RIP

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3 years ago
Reply to  Steven Jackman

They still don’t know what the cause.
I also don’t think it’s about the practice.

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3 years ago

Mathias

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3 years ago

Heartbreaking.? Too soon too young. Condolences to his family and friends. R.I.P.

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3 years ago

RIP

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3 years ago

Oh no – so sad.RIP.

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3 years ago

RIP

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3 years ago

So sad

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3 years ago

Ouch ! Rip ?

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so young … our sincere and heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.

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3 years ago

Cal ?

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3 years ago

Fernando Delgado Sellas

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3 years ago

Carlos Berrios Rivera

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3 years ago

So sad . Rest you briliant swimmer and person. Gone too soon

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3 years ago

Very sad.

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3 years ago

So very sad Rest peacefully Kenny xx

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3 years ago

Rest in peace, Kenny!

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3 years ago

So sad, much too young.

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3 years ago

Marco Soesanto

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3 years ago

Way to young

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3 years ago

Ahmed Ashraf Eissa

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3 years ago
Reply to  Rania Elwani

SCD

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3 years ago
Reply to  Rania Elwani

كلام خطير